The Quiet of Dissolution with Schoolgirl


Things are a bit unhinged.


I want things to be a certain way for me to be comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with this. I like things to be orderly in my home. I like it to be neat as a pin, and I like it to be restful and beautiful.

There is now only the distant memory of when this place used to be like that. And I don’t mean that just for the past few weeks since The Wild Woman’s return with the grandkids and all of that chaos. It’s much deeper and longer-standing than that. That’s just the most recent layer. But for the last three years I’ve let the house fall down around our ears and the garden grow up wild around the house. Chaos has established a strong foothold and now I’m too listless and bored to take things in hand and chase it back out to the street. We’ve got one foot out the door as it were, and the weight and inertia of all that needs doing just makes me want to light the whole mess on fire and head for the hills.

Everywhere I look I see an ever-growing laundry list of chores to do, things to repaint, repair, rebuild. And when I do muster the energy to clean the stove or the counters or the bathroom or the floors, in ten minutes the baby destroyers of clean have undone my work with glee.

I’m curiously dead to it inside. I’m profoundly uncomfortable, but I’ve grown used to the chaos and I’m doing nothing to stop it now. Entropy increases.

Still, within this kind of physical and psychic discomfort with my nest and unhappiness with myself for letting it get into this kind of shape, I feel real joy in the midst of it all. I can let go of that discomfort when I see my grandkids laughing, playing with toy dinosaurs in the wild weeds and dirt, and I’m sanguine about spills and messes and broken shit when everything is a mess already anyway. And I know it’s all temporary. I have a huge amount of work in front of me that is going to start very soon, and a few months from now the house will be sold and we’ll be in our new portable, go anywhere nest, and we’ll be alone together again.

Peace will reign. Beauty and balance will be restored.

And meanwhile, let the shit-storm rage! I’m not able to control what’s happening, so I’m letting it roll, and trying to let it roll off of me. Sitting helps. Beer helps, too. But not as much as sitting. Sometimes it’s all I can do, though, so I do that. What the fuck.

I took old girl out to the woods this weekend, and it was lovely, dark, and deep. We tried to go to Big Sur, but it was just Big Disneyland from San Simeon to Carmel. We saw the thousands of cars parked along every beach access point and campground and pull-out and tourist trap and we looked at each other and said, “Fuck it!” and kept driving. We ended up having a beautiful lunch (beautiful, not delicious, but hey.) at the café at Nepenthe, then we drove hell and back out through this army base, Fort Hunter Ligget, and into the Los Padres National Forest and kind of hit Big Sur from the backside, from the east. We found a mostly empty campsite in the middle of nowhere and we spent the night outside talking and listening and comparing our north nodes- both correctly and not-so-correctly as it turns out- but we had a hell of a nice time. Hiked around some, sat by a beautiful creek and watched California newts free-fall through the water in slow motion, listened to the gurgling water, and reveled in the companionable silence and the taste of days to come.


This parenting gig is non-harmonious for us, too. How much can we do, how much should we do, how much more can we stand? No easy answers. Just doing it, again and again, like getting into the same bathwater for twenty-five years in a row.

Still, what I’m getting at here is this looseness, this easy-goingness that has arisen in me. Shit’s all difficult, but at the same time it’s just shit happening. And in the middle of the storm there’s a cup of coffee, there’s a Star Trek re-run on Netflix, there’s a tickle-fest with the boys, there’s a shared glance, a held hand, a meal that’s not too bad and you get to sit through almost all the way. There’s peace to be found in there, wedged in the spinning, thrashing gears. You can’t reach in and grab it or you’ll get your goddamned arm ripped off, so you just watch as it briefly rises up out of the chaos and then descends again, and you breathe it in and then you breathe it out, release it, and let the chaos do its beautiful work on you and all the world.

I’m letting go of the steering wheel. You might think we’re going to crash, but we’re going to crash anyway.

I’m gonna stick my head out the window like the nervous little poodle I am and watch the mayhem unfold as it will.


What are your plans?


Love, goddamn it. All love, all the time, and fuck the rest of it in the ear.